Tag Archive for: rehabilitation

There is talk of patellar dislocation in dogs, when the patella, a small bone located in front of the knee joint and whose correct position is necessary for a good functioning of the animal’s limb, gets out of its place, trochlea, causing functional pain and weakness in the dog.

Within the dislocations, the medial dislocation is the most frequent. It arises in 80% of cases while the lateral only occurs in 20%. Between 30% and 50% of cases are bilateral and more frequent in females than in males, especially small breeds and toys.protector-rodilla-canina-perro articulada

Lateral dislocations can occur in adult small breeds and in large and giant breed puppies.

It is a pathology that is characterized by a poor alignment of the limb, deformations occur during the development of the animal, which cause the patella to come out of its place. It may be due to a congenital disease or, in some cases, caused by trauma.

It is convenient that dogs suffering from this congenital pathology are not used in reproduction since it is transmitted through generations.

There are dogs that have patella luxation due to trauma. In these cases, the dislocation is generally associated with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee.

Depending on the clinical signs and later on the radiological results, dislocations can be classified into 4 degrees:

patellar lux_fGrade I – Intermittent patellar dislocation causing limb lameness when out of place. In the dynamic test, every three or four steps they raise their leg by flexing the knee or they take a little jump.

Grade II – Dislocation that occurs more frequently than Grade I. The patella dislocates easily. There is a slight external rotation of the leg. Many dogs live with this grade for years before progressive arthritis manifests as lameness or more serious causes.

Grade III and IV – The patella is permanently dislocated, with very noticeable external rotation of the leg. There is moderate lameness. If it is bilateral, dogs walk with bowed legs, turning the feet inward and bearing weight on the forelimbs. In the most severe cases, it can be confused with hip problems.

In addition, the animal presents pain, crepitus and increased sensitivity in the knee, which leads to it reducing its activity, even refusing to go up and down stairs, the car or the sofa.

Treatment depends on the degree of dislocation and lameness, but in most cases surgical treatment consisting of soft tissue repair, bone reconstruction, or a combination of the two is required. There are infinite techniques and the orthopedic veterinarian chooses the most suitable one(s) in each case.

luxación de rótula

Among the most used techniques we find: Overlay of the medial or lateral retinaculum, overlay of the fascia lata, anti-rotational suture of the patellar and tibial ligaments, desmotomy/capsulectomy, quadriceps release, trochleoplasty (trochlear chondroplasty, sulcoplasty resection, trochlear sulcoplasty), transposition of the tibial tuberosity, patellectomy, osteotomy…

As a novelty, orthoses are being applied for knee dislocation as a means of conservative orthopedic treatment that allows the patella to be kept within the femoral condyles and avoid pain and instability. These orthoses are made to measure and are very useful in cases where surgery has failed, you cannot or do not want to operate for different reasons.

Marta Subirats & Toni Ramon

animal physiotherapists

Ortocanis technical team

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Physiotherapy is one of the recovery therapies that can bring the most benefits when there is an injury. But not just humans. Physiotherapy for dogs is also recommended so that these animals can improve their pathologies. In addition, in many cases, it gives them the extra point they lack to be able to recover completely.

The most appropriate physiotherapy technique for a dog will be different depending on the pathology it has. Among the main ones are, in addition to the classic manual therapy, there is the laser, water baths, magnetotherapy, electrical stimulation or therapy through the application of heat. But when is it necessary to use it?

When to use physiotherapy in dogs

Generally, physiotherapy in dogs is usually quite beneficial for animals that have undergone an operation. Especially, in those who have gone through an operation related to the bones, either of the limbs or of the spine. Generally, it is only necessary to apply it to adult dogs, since puppies usually recover quickly from their ailments.

Also for animals that have lost muscle mass noticeably in the joints of the legs. And also of the dogs that are getting older, more likely to suffer ailments and pains than the younger animals.

With physical therapy, which began to become popular about a decade ago, dogs can speed up recovery from an operation or their injuries. Also relieve chronic pathologies or wear and tear associated with age.

Thanks to different techniques, dogs that receive physiotherapy will be able to relieve their pains and see how the inflammation of their joints and areas affected by diseases is reduced . It will also improve the flexibility of the muscles and reduce the degree of atrophy of ligaments and tendons. And you’ll also see your recovery period shorten by about 30%.

Perro con veterinario

What are the physiotherapy sessions like for dogs?

Physiotherapy sessions for dogs are different depending on the type of treatment that should be applied to them. But in general, they follow common guidelines. Usually, each session lasts between 30-40 minutes and an hour. And depending on the condition of the animal and the estimated duration of treatment, it will have to receive sessions two or three times a week.

In addition to receiving therapy in the consultation of a specialist in canine physiotherapy, animals can also receive manual physiotherapy at home through massages. These sessions can be given by their owner, provided that they have previously received instructions to do so.

This option is the most indicated in case the dog needs a continuous treatment due to the physical wear and tear associated with age. Or when you do not allow the person who is going to apply the treatment to manipulate the area where you feel pain.

To try to avoid the latter, however, it is important that the owner of the dog is present when physiotherapy sessions are applied to the animal. This way you will have more confidence, be more relaxed, and block less access to the area where you feel pain.

It is one of the most used instruments in physiotherapy. It is a device that emits acoustic waves of much higher frequencies than those audible by humans. The frequency used as a therapeutic tool is 1×106 Hertz, i.e. 1 Mega-Hertz (MHz), so they are not audible by any mammal.
Usually in veterinary clinics and hospitals, ultrasound is used for ultrasound scans that use the same type of wave. The difference is power, frequency and application time.
In therapeutics we use frequencies of 1MHz for deep treatments, up to 8 cm and frequencies of 3MHz for more superficial problems. The power ranges between 0.2 and 3 Watts / square centimeter.

Effects on tissues:

The main effect of ultrasound on tissues is anti-inflammatory. We usually use it in tendons, joints or inflamed muscles; it has excellent results in both acute injuries and chronic injuries, although we must adjust the powers.

The analgesic effect is another of the most sought after in rehabilitation, normally when we deflate a structure we manage to reduce the pressure in the nociceptors that are the receptors in the body that send the painful signals, by reducing the pressure in these receptors, we reduce their stimulation and therefore decrease the intensity of the signals they send until they disappear. If there is no sign of pain, there is no perception of it.

soporte para perro con displasia de caderaWhen we have a fibrosis in the different soft tissues: muscles, tendons or ligaments, we can apply continuous and then pulsating ultrasound at maximum power. This way we will find a good defibrosing effect.

Another of the classic applications of ultrasound is the application in muscle contractures, with ultrasound we can reduce and even eliminate them.

Continuous ultrasound generates heat by the vibration of the molecules and both the pulsating and the continuous increase the permeability of the membrane, which is what favors together with the mobilization of the molecules the anti-inflammatory effect.


Ultrasound must be applied by moving the head all the time that the treatment lasts, either making small circles or following the direction of the treated tissues rectilinearly. If we do not do so, especially in continuous mode, we can damage tissues and produce significant burns.
It is necessary to use a means of contact, either contact gel or directly in direct immersion (sub-aquatic ultrasound).
It is also important to take into account the hair of the animal, this hinders the transmission of ultrasound and therefore it is very interesting to be able to shave the dog before applying the ultrasound sessionperro-multimedia-600x300_6

Approximate time between 5 and 15 minutes
Power between 0.2 and 3 Wats/cm2
There are different head measurements depending on the needs.


Ultrasounds can be used in any pathology of the dog that occurs with joint or soft tissue pain, such as tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, bruises or major bruises.

We can also use ultrasound in chronic problems such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, knee osteoarthritis, or hip osteoarthritis.

All surgical interventions produce an inflammation of the tissues that have been operated, ultrasound is a very good tool to control inflammation and post-surgical problems such as rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament, patella dislocation or others.

Ortocanis technical team

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Hip dysplasia is one of the most common mobility difficulties in dogs, especially large ones. At Ortocanis, we work every day to expand and improve our range of products for these types of problems, and we believe that any additional information is good. Here we leave you another interesting article.

At the University of León, a radiographic method has been developed for the early diagnosis of this disease with great emotional repercussions for owners.

Hip dysplasia is a very common disease in large and giant breeds of dogs, which consists of defective development of this joint.

In it, the two bones that form the joint, femur and pelvis, do not adapt correctly due to different biomechanical imbalances produced during the growth of the animal. It is a hereditary disease, so the main solution to eradicate it is to avoid breeding these animals, although it is also important to control factors such as nutrition, weight or overexertion of the puppy during its growth as well as consanguinity in selective breeding.

The symptoms presented by the animals vary according to the severity of the dysplasia, from a slight lameness to the total inability of the animal to lead a normal life.

The diagnosis of this disease is not easy, since there is no method that allows it to be determined in all cases. The method accepted in Spain for certificate purposes is radiographic, although it has the disadvantage that it must be carried out when growth has finished, that is, after twelve months for most breeds.

Early diagnosis can prevent transmission

In the Doctoral Thesis of Beatriz Melo Alonso, defended at the University of León and directed by doctors José Manuel Gonzalo Orden and Mario Manuel Dinis, hip dysplasia has been investigated in one of our native breeds: the Burgos Pointer.
The result of this research has been worrying, since 59.3% of the animals studied suffer from hip dysplasia in its different degrees, with 18.6% severe dysplasia. This high percentage should alert the Burgos Perdiguero associations to try to eradicate it.

Early diagnostic

The drawback is that the aforementioned diagnostic technique is very late, and therefore, has a great emotional impact on owners.
For this reason, another part of the research has consisted of perfecting, for this breed, a new diagnostic technique developed in the United States called the PennHIP or distraction method, which consists of taking a specific X-ray and taking a measurement on it called the index of distraction.

This study has concluded that with the PennHIP method this disease can be predicted from four months of age, and throughout the animal’s growth, with the same reliability, in the Pointer, and it has even been possible to enunciate a formula with the which will know the degree of hip dysplasia that he will have in the future from the distraction index that he presents at four months. This system could reduce this disease, which has so much repercussion, both on the animal itself and on the owners.

Source: University of León

There are many treatments that exist for the rehabilitation of our little friends, one of the least known; thermotherapy!

Thermotherapy is the application of heat to the body for therapeutic purposes. There are different ways of applying heat to the animal: heat packs , parafango, ultrasound , short wave, infrared , water vapor, contrast baths and moist heat.

It has therapeutic effects; It is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, sedative, relaxing and decontracting.

At the cellular level, it increases metabolism, while at the level of the blood vessels, it acts by producing thermoregulation that, at the local level, will produce brief vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation, giving rise to hyperthermia. In addition to a vasomotor reaction.

At a deep level, hyperthermia also occurs. It will produce a reflex action as a consequence of the vasomotor modifications of the local application that will produce an improvement in cell nutrition, an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.bolsas-de-agua-caliente-o-hielo

On the heart it produces tachycardias and modifies blood pressure in local applications and if its application is increased, it produces an increase in the temperature of the stimulus and decreases blood pressure with an increase in volume.

In the blood, it produces an alkalinization of the blood pH, decreases coagulation, blood viscosity and, consequently, there is a greater lymphatic supply to the tissues.

On the skin there is an increase in temperature, with an increase in local circulation and decreased sensitivity.

The heat on the nervous system increases sensitivity in short-term applications, while if the duration is prolonged, it produces a decrease in sensitivity, sedation and analgesia.

At the muscular level, it produces relaxation, is antispasmodic, decreases excitability, increases tissue elasticity and decreases muscle tone. And, on the respiratory system, it produces an increase in the respiratory rate.

There are a number of circumstances in which heat cannot be applied:

  • Cardiac animals.
  • In acute inflammations 24-72 hours
  • Animals that present hypersensitivity or even allergic reactions
  • Areas:
    • Open, deep, or infected wounds
    • local infections
    • Burns
    • sensitivity disturbances
    • circulatory deficits
  • leishmaniasis

Heat can be applied once the acute phase of the injury or surgery has ended: fractures, contractures, tendinitis, dislocations, etc., or in chronic cases such as geriatric animals or those with osteoarthritis.

It is necessary to control the animal’s skin at all times and if the skin is very red or the animal is upset, the treatment should be stopped. It is necessary to place a towel between the animal and the heat, never place it directly, as there is a risk of causing skin burns.

There are special protectors or straps for a better fastening of the hot pack.

Orthocanis team

x-ray dog with fractures

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Disc herniation is a neurological disease that affects the spine, when part of the intervertebral disc presses on or enters the spinal cord.

The dog has 7 cervical vertebrae, 13 thoracic, 7 lumbar, 3 sacral and, depending on the breed, 20-23 tail vertebrae. The intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae that make up the spine and at the same time give it its mobility.

Two types of hernia and their symptoms

It mainly differentiates between two types of disc herniation: Protrusion and Discus Extrusion.

We speak of a Protrusion when the intervertebral disc moves and thus presses on the spinal cord but the spinal cord tissue is intact. The dog shows pain, walks awkwardly, sometimes with a hunched back and may drag its legs a little.

Extrusion means that the disc tissue has ruptured and disc material has entered and damaged the medulla. In this case the symptoms can be similar to that of the Protrusion but more serious. Depending on the location of the hernia, it causes paralysis of the forelimbs and/or hindlimbs. The dog loses sensitivity in those extremities, which manifests itself in the absence of pain, does not stand up and begins to crawl. It may also look like incontinence.

The most important thing in these cases is the rapid diagnosis and intervention of the veterinarian!!

A slight Protrusion can be treated with medication and almost absolute rest, however an Extrusion has to be operated to remove the disc material from the marrow.

But beware – each case of disc herniation is different and depends a lot on its location, to what degree it has pressed or damaged the spinal cord and how long it has been between the first symptom and diagnosis. That is why it is very important to choose a good neurologist.

Physiotherapy – recovery

In both cases, physiotherapy is very important for a good and faster recovery of the animal.

Various massage methods help stimulate the peripheral system and increase blood circulation. Passive joint movement prevents loss of mobility in affected limbs. Electrotherapy stops muscle atrophy and is the only passive way to increase muscle mass.

When the dog is already standing, several active exercises are applied to improve stability, balance and coordination.

The owner must take great care with the feeding of his dog during recovery and consult the veterinarian, since the loss of mobility and the same amount of food lead to weight gain – something that should be avoided in any case. Every extra gram makes it more difficult for the dog to get up and walk again.

In the event of a cervical hernia, the use of a harness is recommended to avoid sudden movements in this area and also to raise the food and water bowls so that the dog does not have to bend down too much.

andrea klein

animal physiotherapist

Collaborator of Ortocanis.com

As our WordPress colleagues say, good morning world!

Here we start our Blog with enthusiasm, in which we are going to capture all the information we can collect on how to help our best friends. We hope that you can use this platform to support our initiative and that we can share comments and opinions after each post.

Thank you all so much and here we go!

Orthocanis team.